Chief complaints in a free walk-in clinic: a study of 3,009 consecutive patient visits

Public Health Rep. 1977 Mar-Apr;92(2):150-3.


Men under 20 and over 50 years of age used a free walk-in clinic of the Navy more than women of the same age. Women 20-50 years old used it more than men in this age group. This appears to be a result of the distribution of Navy health care facilities in the study area. Teenagers used the clinic as much as patients over 50. Sore throat, skin rash, abdominal pain, earache, and backache were the five most common complaints (302 per 1,000 patients.) These complaints and 19 other problems were responsible for 822 patient visits per 1,000 in a study of 2,272 consecutive new patient visits. Eighteen percent of all visits were return visits for a specific complaint. An analysis of complaints by body system showed that 21.9 percent were otolaryngological, 18.8 percent musculoskeletal, 12.5 per cent gastrointestinal, 9.7 percent dermatological, 8.7 percent cardiopulmonary, 7.8 percent genitourinary, 9.0 percent general (fatigue, nervousness, malaise, or weakness), and 11.6 percent other system (neurological, hematological, and miscellaneous). These data indicate that a physician's time might be used more efficiently in a walk-in setting and that training for such a clinic must be different from traditional training for such fields as internal medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • District of Columbia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity*
  • Naval Medicine
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Utilization Review